levels and electromagnetic fields from these devices are very low and are well below the levels known to have harmful effects.
The panel has determined that the health issue is primarily a perception of risk rather than an actual health threat. Concerns about health effects may still affect public acceptance of imaging and nonimaging electromagnetic radiation technologies, especially because people distinguish between radiation received voluntarily (such as radiation during a transcontinental flight) and radiation received involuntarily (such as radiation from living in areas built over piles of uranium mill tailings). People may perceive the radiation they receive to facilitate aviation security as an involuntary dose of radiation that they are unwilling to be exposed to. For example, x-ray screening technologies do not pose a health problem, but people may believe that they do. Therefore, people may object to a technology that exposes them to x-rays, even though the radiation dose is extremely small. This perception may be true especially for aircrews and airport employees exposed to frequent screening. False perceptions may be addressed effectively by disseminating information regarding the insignificant exposure levels used in screening technologies and the benefits of the screening procedures in reducing threats. However, the information must be presented in a way that is understandable to all audiences. Comparing radiation doses received in passenger screening to greater, but still safe, doses used in common or familiar circumstances (e.g., a chest x-ray) is a meaningful and effective strategy, as long as the information is framed in the appropriate context. This information, which should be presented at the screening site, could be part of a public education effort.
No health risks are associated with trace-detection technologies either. However, passengers may perceive the equipment as unhealthy if it appears unclean or unsanitary. The development of passenger screening equipment and the implementation of screening procedures should include measures that minimize the risk of disease transmission.